Honest question here. Is Tim Griffin going to leave his post of USA for Eastern AR? Or is he just planning on staying, effectively accepting a permanent PATRIOT Act USA appoint, and hoping no one will notice?
Tim Griffin officially took over the USA position around December 20 (just one day after Sampson suggesting "gumming to death" his ongoing nomination). If his appointment were treated like a normal interim appointment lasting 120 days, then his term would have expired sometime around April 20. Yet there he is, still gracing the USA AR website as "United States Attorney," and we've heard nothing about a replacement nominee. To add insult to injury, Gonzales and Senator Pryor met last Wednesday. US News reported that Pryor told Gonzales to resign--but it did not say whether there was any discussion of giving Arkansas a real USA.
You see, I'm not sure it was ever made clear whether Griffin's appointment in December was an indefinite PATRIOT Act appointment, meaning he can stay as long as Bush is "pleasured" with his presence. Or whether (as the gumming comment suggested), BushCo was just going to fudge the process, all the while proclaiming they were committed to having a Senate-approved USA in the office.
Griffin's announcement that he would not seek Senate approval on February 16 was equally vague on this point.
Tim Griffin, whose December appointment as U. S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas sparked a national outcry about surreptitious changes made to a law affecting federal prosecutors, says he no longer wants the job permanently.
“I have made the decision not to let my name go forward to the Senate,” Griffin said Thursday evening.
He was referring to the U. S. Department of Justice’s stated intention, amid heavy criticism, to subject Griffin and others recently appointed to interim federal-prosecutor posts to the standard process of being nominated by the president, scrutinized by the U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee and then voted on by the Senate.
Griffin, 38, a former military prosecutor, was appointed Dec. 20 by U. S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales under a little-noticed provision tacked onto the 2006 reauthorization of the USAPATRIOT Act that allows the attorney general to fill prosecutorial vacancies on an interim basis without Senate approval.
Griffin said Thursday that if he were to go through the confirmation process, “I don’t think there is any way I could get fair treatment by Sen. Pryor or others on the judiciary committee.”
He said he will continue to serve in the top law enforcement position in the state’s eastern district as long as the White House keeps him there under the interim title or “gets someone else that I can help transition into this job.
“ But to submit my name to the Senate would be like volunteering to stand in front of a firing squad in the middle of a three-ring circus.”
So it appears that, in spite of all Administration claims to want a
Senate-approved USA, BushCo is in fact gumming Griffin's appointment to
There's one more reason to demand answers to this question. The list of the documents not turned over to the Judiciary Committees includes several emails that likely relate to this question, including:
- A Harriet-Sampson exchange on January 7, discussing the replacement of USAs--the exchange took place just two days before Griffin came to DC and met with Senators and DOJ staff
- A Sara Taylor email from January 25 discussing DOJ's response to Pryor on Griffin (Sampson subsequently wrapped Goodling into that discussion)
- A February 2 Sampson/Chris O'Prison/Goodling discussion regarding Pryor's response
- A February 7 Sara Taylor email on a USA Today article on Griffin
- A February 16 discussion with Griffin on the "reject Senate approval" article in Arkansas
- Three Sara Taylor emails, also on February 16, ostensibly talking about the WH involvement in Griffin's appointment
In other words, the Taylor emails show that the WH continued to be actively involved in the Griffin appointment (and the Harriet emails may indicate the same), during precisely the time period leading up to his announcement that he would not seek Senate approval.
It'd be just like these guys to lie about their intent to get Senate approval, all the while still pursuing their "gumming" strategy. And that sure looks like what they're doing.
Update: There's also a February 21 Goodling-Sampson discussion of a revsion of "Transitions in Arkansas" timeline noted in the "not turned over" list. I'm just working from memory at this point, but I don't recall that document appearing at all in the document dumps. Did Monica update that document to reflect the official implementation of the "gumming to death" strategy? And are there similar documents we don't know about, like the "Transitions in Minnesota" document, the "Transitions in Missouri" document, and the "Transitions in Michigan" document?
Update: I forgot to mention why I first started thinking of this! The not-turned-over list also mentions a discussion of K-Lo's article on how mean those Democrats are to Tim Griffin. I consider the NRO a designated party mouthpiece, so when I re-read this, I couldn't help but wonder whether this article was supposed to try to give the "gumming it to death" strategy cover.
Currently serving as U.S. attorney in Arkansas, Griffin, a fifth-generation Arkansan, recently took his name out of the running to serve permanently in that position — so he wouldn’t have to face Senate Democrats who’ve already made up their minds about him.
But now, even after he took his name out of the running, Democrats are still targeting Griffin, and disparaging him. Griffin, you see, has what might as well be a criminal record if you’re a demagogue in a Democratic Senate: He worked for Karl Rove, and he worked for the Republican National Committee
You see, it was by no means clear on March 1, when K-Lo published this article, that Griffin was forgoing a permanent appointment. Seeing as how Griffin does, in fact, appear to be "gumming," this reads like an attempt to attack Democrats for not simply backing down off the Griffin appoint.